When my daughter was about 1.5 years old, I got the wonderful news that I was pregnant again. From that first pregnancy test, I could feel that this second pregnancy would be completely different from my first.
Many moms can attest to this—upon hearing our news, several second and third-time moms let me know not to compare my first pregnancy to this one, that everything from your emotions to your symptoms can be vastly different. At first, I waved them off, but I can join them in this sentiment now, nearing the third trimester of my second pregnancy. But in truth, those changes started from day one.
How My Second Pregnancy Has Been a New Experience
The announcement wasn’t a big deal.
With my first, I got a positive pregnancy test before my husband got home from work. So I jumped in my car and ran to Target to buy a onesie. Putting it into an Amazon package, I left it out front for him to open when he got inside. I videotaped the entire thing, and it was such a special moment. It even went viral on TikTok a year later. For my second, we were in a global pandemic. So with both of us home, I texted him to come to the bathroom and then shoved the test in his face. Romantic? Not quite. On par for a second baby? Definitely.
And then we took our time telling our news to loved ones. When I was pregnant for the first time, I couldn’t stand to talk to anyone without revealing my news. This time, keeping my pregnancy a secret was easier, and doing so even felt somewhat sacred. I waited until about 14 weeks pregnant before telling anyone outside our family, even some of my closest friends. It may not seem long, but for us, it was a lifetime compared to our first.
The symptoms started fast.
It seemed that overnight, I looked and felt pregnant. My boobs grew to their full pregnancy size in just a few days, and I even started showing very early on. With my first, I wished for a bump every day until one finally appeared ever so slightly at 20 weeks. I put my regular jeans away this time before letting the world know I was expecting.
Everything else felt quicker, too—I was sick instantly and started to feel the baby move well before I ever felt my older daughter moving. So while my overall symptoms seemed to happen quicker, they were similar to what I had with my first. For many women, though, this is not the case. You may experience vastly different symptoms during your pregnancy—so try not to set any expectations!
There was no time to worry.
If I could describe my first pregnancy in one word, it would be anxiety. I was nervous about everything. If my baby didn’t move, I worried. When she moved, I was nervous it wasn’t the right movement. If I had a cramp, I assumed the worst. If I saw discharge, I called my doctor to triple-check that it was normal. I sat at my ultrasounds with clenched fists, waiting to hear something wasn’t right. I was so anxious that I failed to enjoy many of the amazing moments of pregnancy.
This time around, I vowed to be calmer. Knowing that things like cramping and discharge are incredibly normal, I can forgo any negative feelings when they happen and just enjoy the fact that I can create this life. Of course, I still get nervous before every doctor’s appointment. But the nerves quickly calm when I see my baby on the screen or hear her heartbeat. And I don’t spend all night wondering if my baby is okay—this time, I just know she is.
I knew what to do.
I was very sick with my first pregnancy. So this time around, when I felt that familiar wave of nausea, I got the medicine I needed before it became weeks and weeks of sickness as I had with my first. I also knew that my body needed movement, or I would be stuck with intense round ligament pain and cramping throughout the 9-10 months. So this time, even though I know symptoms can always be different, I ensured that I made a plan to move. In addition, I started prenatal yoga classes and continued my morning walks with my daughter. Enacting these simple changes to avoid uncomfortable feelings from my first pregnancy has made a world of difference.
Time moves fast.
I remember feeling that 20 weeks took forever to get to with my first pregnancy. With my second pregnancy, it feels like that landmark week came out of nowhere. When you’re chasing around a toddler and focused on their well-being over yours, it leaves little time to obsess over things like the nursery, the coming home outfit, and their wardrobe. The nursery was planned and set up well in advance with my first. Now, I sit here well into my second pregnancy with nothing ready.
Of course, it makes it easier that I am having another girl. So her wardrobe is set, and little things like bottles, burp clothes, blankets, etc., are already stored away in our house and ready to go as needed. Even still, without all the planning—we are forgoing a second baby shower or sprinkle— and with another child in tow, it seems time is moving so fast. This pregnancy will be over before I truly even felt it begin.
I feel connected already.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved my first daughter from the moment she was conceived. But the connection I have with this one feels stronger from the start. I can now look at my gorgeous two-year-old and see what I have to look forward to. No matter how different she is, I know how special it is to have a daughter. Getting to have another one makes this pregnancy not only easier but more enjoyable too. I am not only excited to meet and get to know her but also to see my older daughter become a big sister. What could be more special than that?